Footballer Mo Salah could quit Egypt national team after ‘sportswashing’ by Chechen gay purge leader
Mo Salah is considering quitting the Egypt national team after he was “used as a political symbol” by the leader of the Chechen Republic.
The footballer received a wave of criticism after he took part in a press trip with the leader of the Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov at the start of the World Cup.
Salah, who also plays as Liverpool FC’s star striker, has reportedly said that he feels angry after being used as a political symbol by the man who carried out the Chechen gay purge.
Two anonymous sources said that he footballer said that he was unaware that Kadyrov was the man responsible for the Chechen gay purge, which saw more than 100 gay men rounded up and tortured by officials because of their sexuality.
According to the sources, Salah said he became annoyed when Kadyrov organised a dinner with the footballer and granted him honourary citizenship in the act of “sportswashing.”
“Mohamed Salah is an honorary citizen of the Chechen Republic! That’s right!” the Chechen leader wrote in a social media post.
“I gave Mohamed Salah a copy of the order and a pin at a celebratory dinner that I gave in honour of the Egyptian team.”
To date, the Federation said that they had not received an official line from the footballer.
“We were always informed by Salah when he takes any decisions,” said the statement by the Egyptian Football Federation to CNN.
“We spend the whole day together and he has never discussed this issue with any of the delegation’s members.
“We are here in a sports event and we are following FIFA procedures, we don’t discuss politics, and if there is any political discussion, it should be directed to FIFA.”
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Egyptian national team football player and Liverpool’s star striker Mohamed Salah (L) poses with head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov during a training at the Akhmat Arena stadium in Grozny on June 10, 2018, ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup.(KARIM JAAFAR / AFP)A year on, human rights groups are piling on the pressure for the Russian authorities to investigate what happened to gay men in Chechnya.
It is estimated that more than 100 male residents of the Chechen Republic have been abducted, held prisoner and tortured by authorities targeting them based on their perceived sexual orientation.
“It would be very easy to carry out an [effective] investigation if the authorities wanted to,” Milashina said, noting that investigators even failed to collect GPS location records of the mobile phones of people who alleged they had been detained, reported Human Rights Watch.